books i've been reading, cooking, girl meets cake, other writers, telly



Oliver Postgate has died.  Like every Brit of a certain age, his was the voice of my childhood.  Smallfilms (Postgate, animator Peter Firmin, and various handy people who were good at knitting) made telly out of bits of string in a shed at the bottom of the garden, with such obvious love and care that I feel teary just thinking about it.  His imagination contributed every bit as much of my kidly fondness for stories as Blyton and Kipling and Dahl.

So, for your nostalgic viewing pleasure, here are the singing mice from Bagpuss,  the Welshest episode of Ivor the Engine ever, soup (and the soup dragon) with The Clangers (spillage at 6.40!), a glimpse of Nogbad from Noggin the Nog, and some magnificently scary-looking pictures from Tottie (which we used to mock mercilessly, but secretly I adored it).  Oh, I am a tiny person all over again, just listening to him…  Farewell, Post, you’ll not be forgot.

book_mini  I’ve mostly been reading unpublished things, which is fun except you can’t talk about them. 🙂  Am now on Andrea Levy’s Small Island, though, which is masterful.

pencil_mini  Proof-correction time for Girl Meets Cake!  I love this bit: it’s so nearly a book, and those final little tweaks and checks are amusing.  Though I’m dithering over a section where my girls greet each other with the always-friendly catalogue of insults (tart, whore, that kind of thing).  I know why I wrote it like that: there are legitimate, meaningful, textual reasons for those words to be there.  But Tina Fey’s character in Mean Girls bellows Y’all have to stop calling each other sluts and whores, because it just makes it OK for guys to call you sluts and whores‘, and she has a point.  Decisions, decisions…

rocrastination_mini Visiting Narnia (well, nearly: sooo pretty), nearly killing myself with undercooked chicken (I knew there was a reason I used to be veggie), continuing my helpless obsession with Gilmore Girls, despite it being all twee and goofy.


23 thoughts on “Pshhhht’cooff”

  1. Tottie. Wasn’t that the one where the doll catches fire and burns up? Am still haunted.

    Am with Tina Fey lady, whoever she is. But you knew that.

  2. Ivor the Engine was the best programme ever (or possibly tied with The Clangers). Heard an interview with Mr Postgate on the news this morning – really odd to hear those familiar tones discussing serious grown up stuff instead of Jones the Steam and Noggin the Nog. Don’t remember Tottie – I’m probably too old and crumbly!

    I’m with Jess and Tina Fey (is she the one who did Sarah Palin impersonations???) on the abusing each other in a ‘friendly’ manner. Friends should be kind to you!

  3. I once missed out on a concert by Sandra Kerr (she being the voice of the mice and Madeline the Rag Doll) and John Falkner (Gabriel the toad) at Chippenham Folk Festival because I was stuck in a traffic jam on the M4 for SIX SODDING HOURS. Thus, I could not join in with Mrs Rarg and her chum Lucy as they sat down the front going “HEAVE… HEAVE… HEAVE…!” and joining in with the frivolity. Stupid car crashes.

    To make up for this, I now have a signed copy of a CD featuring all the songs from Bagpuss. My favourite is ‘The Bony King of Nowhere’.

    Oliver Postgate was the voice of my childhood. Now I fear for Brian Cant.

    I plan to visit Narnia too on Friday! Does it rule?

  4. Narnia. Cardiff seems a trip too far right now. Sigh.

    So THAT’S where the Bony/Boney king of nowhere comes from. (There there).

  5. feel distinctly awkward speaking on a thread filled with my aunts…

    especially as Oliver Postgate wasn’t the voice of my childhood (in fact i had no idea who he was until i read the top bit) and also am totally bemused by all these links to strange blurry television?

    but just thought i’d stop byy and say i hope that your book is coming along well, as i look forward to reading it 🙂

  6. Glad to see you’re out of bed, Susie, but worrying about undercooked chicken now! Love the lolcat – very apt. I too am full of woe at the loss of the great man. Apparently he inspired Nick Park into stop animation and thus influenced Wallace and Gromit.

    I blogged about the Clangers on popandcrisps the day before Mr P died (actually I wrote it the week earlier because I schedule them) so it was a bit weird, I’d already been doing a lot of research on him when I heard on the radio he’d died. He was very political and passionate about children’s TV in a way that makes me feel wretched when I see the rubbish on screen today. This is a fascinating article he wrote:

    Thank goodness for youtube, because The Clangers on my laptop managed to distract my boy from the inane nonsense he usually watches. (i.e. beautiful tuneful nonsense instead)

  7. e.g. “Suppose, if you will, that I am part of a silent Martian invasion and that my intention is slowly to destroy the whole culture of the human race. Where would I start?

    I would naturally start where thought first grows. I would start with children’s television. My policy would be to give the children only the sort of thing that they ‘already know they enjoy’ like a fizzing diet of manic jelly-babies. This would no doubt be exciting, but their hearts and their minds would receive no nourishment, they would come to know nothing of the richness of human life, love and knowledge, and slowly whole generations would grow up knowing nothing about anything but violence and personal supremacy.

    Is that a fairy-tale? Look around you. “

  8. I despised Mr Bennett. It was the kind of comedy that I found genuinely upsetting as a small person. (Also, wasn’t he Vince Purity and His Little Purettes? I hated them too, and not in the way you were supposed to…)

    Janet Ellis remains lovely, despite me remembering Sophie being born and thus making me feel 903 years old.

  9. I remember disliking Mr Bennett, but I can’t really remember what he did. Wasn’t he just a bit bumbling? There’s a current show on CBeebies called Nuzzle and Scratch, where a pair of alpacas (yes, don’t ask) seem to work in some kind of agency where they get sent to work in a park/school kitchen/swimming pool and cause all kinds of ‘hilarious’ chaos by being useless. I can’t stand it. I want to shout ‘Stop! Stop being so hopeless! The little children will be hungry if you put string in the spaghetti bolognese!’

    Funnily enough, SP doesn’t like it much either, though I suspect not for the same reasons!

    I think this probably makes me a bit odd, but I still can’t bear most sitcoms – I actually can’t stay in the room.

  10. You are making me feel very old……who is Mr Bennett? Janet Ellis is Blue Peter? (it was Val, Peter and John (and Shep of course) when I watched it!) Vince Purity?

  11. Mr Bennett was all right, bless him. The sort of character-based children’s comic character who would now be replaced by gunge, snot and fart jokes, shouting, a room full of Sunny D’d-up brats cheering and bright colours.

    I was more alarmed by Jigsaw, created by brain-teaser meister Clive Doig, and starring the utterly gorgeous Janet Ellis in her pre-Blue Peter days. Most of the action was puzzle based and featuring such glorious characters as Wilf Lunn, Sylvester McCoy and David Rappaport. However, it also featured Mr Noseybonk:

    Everything about that clip is thoroughly sinister. Including the music and the giant white willies that suddenly sprout as a result of Noseybonk’s tender administrations.

  12. Oh good lord, even the music is creepily familiar. Things you’d even forgotten you’d forgotten. Oof.

  13. Jess – that’s exactly what Mr Bennett was like: unnecessarily useless in a predictable, oh-no-but-that-bucket-of-paint-will-fall-on-someone kind of way. I hated Terry and June etc for similar reasons. Interesting how all the ‘ooh, Betty, I’ve inadvertently caused a multiple pile-up and fed the baby some polyfilla!’ forgivable dullard characters were blokes…

    Tina – you hardcore old-skooler, you! Did you know Valerie Singleton and Peter Purves had a fling? Janet Ellis was the one who got sacked for getting pregnant ‘out of wedlock’ (resulting small person being Sophie Ellis-Bextor, thus making all of us feel very old). Blue Peter has always been a den of sin and corruption, clearly.

    Rarg – Mr Brooker was noting the nightmarish qualities of Mr Noseybonk just the other day. They don’t make them like that no more, for extremely good reasons…

  14. I dunno, what I’ve seen of In the Night Garden is pretty spooky.

    Incidentally, Sophie Trellis-Boxface was not the reason darling Janet was sacked from Blue Peter. Sophie was already born by then. It was Janet’s fling with a married bloke which resulted in Sophie’s younger half-sibling which did it. Sophie is blameless (and rhomboid). Janet was gorgeous, true, but obviously something of a sleeparound, which makes her naughty. And that makes her doubly phwoarsome!!

  15. Do you remember Simon Groom on Blue Peter? He was sacked after one series for too many unscripted comments, such as this one

    I remember that Noseybonk and I hated it. Erk, takes me right back! And Mr Bennet the caretaker was a bit scary.

    Susie, have you been to Paris by any chance? And do you know why the blog post is just a picture with no text or comments?

  16. I thought Simon Groom lasted for the best part of a decade? Maybe it seemed like it…

    No, hang on, you’re confusing him with Michael Sundin who definitely wasn’t fired for being gay. Oh no.

    Incidentally, Michael Sundin played Tik-Tok in Return To Oz. Awesome film.

  17. Josie – sorry, can you see it now? It seems a handful of people have had problems: may be a browser issue? Simon Groom got away with all sorts, bless him. I was very much the Sarah Greene/Peter Duncan/Simon Groom era. Oh, how your heart did sink whenever the phrase ‘my parent’s farm’ was uttered…

    Rarg – I had no idea Sundin was Tik-Tok. Truly you are a man to have nearby in the event of a pub quiz. (It is a great film, though! There are simply not enough heroic chickens in the movies these days.)

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